Gautam Rao

Associate Professor of Economics, Harvard University




Working Papers

Work in Progress

From Another Life



Information for (potential) advisees

This is a note for Harvard PhD students who would like me to advise their reseach. Importantly, none of the following is set in stone. Different types of advising relationships work best for different students. If you would like me to be your advisor, come talk to me, and we can discuss what would work best for you.

If I am your primary advisor, I expect to meet you every two weeks for updates on your work. If I am on your committee, but not your primary advisor, I expect to meet you at least twice a semester (more frequent meetings are also welcome). If I am not on your committee, I am still happy to meet you, but most likely will not be able to do so more than once a semester.

Formal advisees must do the following for each meeting:

  1. By the morning of our meeting, send me a written update on your work since our previous meeting, including updates on each point of your to-do list from the previous meeting.
  2. After every meeting (by the end of that same day), please send me a summary of our meeting, with the to-do list emerging from the meeting.
  3. I recommend sharing a dropbox folder or google doc with me that archives all of these meeting summaries and to-do lists.
For all students:

I am usually quite good about replying to emails promptly, providing feedback on drafts, writing letters of recommendation, and so on. However, I always appreciate reminders about these things. If I take more than 4-5 days (or less, if time-sensitive) to reply to an email from you, please do bump the email (i.e. simply send a follow-up email in the same thread). I will never be offended or irritated by your reminding me to do something which I should do. In fact, I will be grateful.